– New report calls on Sadiq Khan to help some of the capital’s 5,360 affected veterans
– Loan-scheme could ease access to highly-trained dogs
– Canines act as effective alternatives to long-term drug therapies
The Mayor of London could support some of the capital’s 5,360 armed forces veterans suffering from PTSD by providing loans for life-changing therapeutic dogs, according to a new report.
‘Paws for Support’, by London Assembly Member Shaun Bailey, calls on the Mayor to use cash reserves and corporate sponsorship to set up an interest-free loan scheme that could provide the capital’s most vulnerable veterans with the trained pets.
The intelligent canines, which help in a similar way to guide dogs, provide reassuring personal assistance to PTSD sufferers and can even wake a sufferer up during recurring nightmares – a common symptom of the illness.
Specially trained by charity Veterans with Dogs, the animals can be an effective alternative to long-term drug prescriptions, meaning the PTSD sufferer avoids many possible side effects.
Army veteran and Londoner Richard Mearns was left out of work and unable to leave the house because of the trauma of PTSD – a result of his tour of Iraq in 2003.
Since being paired up with Ziggy, an assistance dog from Veterans with Dogs, he suffers fewer anxiety attacks, less frequent nightmares and has been able to gain a full-time job (full case study below).
The cost of training a PTSD dog is £11,000 – with additional costs for CBT-style training for its new owner.
Despite being inundated with requests, the high cost means the charity has a lengthy waiting list and many sufferers are unable to get the help they need.
Assembly Member Bailey believes the Mayor has an opportunity to bridge the funding gap at no expense to the taxpayer to provide some of our veterans with life-changing support.
London Assembly Member Shaun Bailey said:
“We owe it to our armed forces heroes to give them the right help and support when they are discharged from the armed forces and this is a simple and effective way of delivering that.
“PTSD is a devastating mental illness that can ruin the lives of people who have put themselves in harm’s way for our country.
“The Mayor, through existing cash reserves and his ability to attract corporate sponsorship, has the power to provide life-changing help for those most in need.
“I strongly believe we should be doing all we can to get the lives of suffering armed forces veterans back on track and I think Londoners would love to see this taken forward.”
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